Dancing in the Reign: Dealing
When Alexei Ponikarovsky is considered to be a GM’s ‘Plan B’ while musing the free-agent market, things aren’t good. When Alexei Ponikarovsky is shipped to Carolina simultaneously as a ‘Plan B’ of Simon Gagne is inked in Los Angeles, things are downright stupendous.
What a fu*king train-wreck that Ryan Smyth deal turned out to be, eh? Might’ve been better off trading him for a bag of pucks, but chances are, those would’ve come with defaults too. We wouldn’t want Steve Tambellini sending fair product or anything.
But far more important are the stellar acquisitions Dean Lombardi executed this past week to land Mike Richards and Simon Gagne from the Philadelphia Flyers. The additions of Richards and Gagne add some serious credibility to the Kings being tabbed Stanley Cup contenders next season. If there’s reasonable dispute to that, th – - there is no such thing.
Out of Town
Alexei Ponikarovsky and Michal Handzus have found new digs, riding free-agency out of Los Angeles. Ponikarovsky has a new home with the Carolina Hurricanes, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Good riddance, attributing for a lowly 5 goals and 15 assists in 61 games this season. Ponikarovsky, who was brought to Los Angeles to replace Alexander Frolov, was a non-factor all season long. Carolina may be Ponikarovsky’s final stint in the NHL, with the KHL likely to embrace the final years of his pro career. A more notable departure is that of Michal Handzus, who has commited to the San Jose Sharks for two years at a combined salary of $5 million. Handzus ends his 4-year tenure in a Kings uniform, marking his symbol with the franchise as a solid, dependable, 3rd-4th line centerman. He honored his quiet, under appreciated duty, and always with pure class. Unfortunately, the team is straying away from his need, which is not to say he doesn’t still belong in the league – just as San Jose has noticed.
Is this Wade, James, Bosh status? Just call 7 Cups with some smoke machines behind you.
Along with Ilya Bryzgalov, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn found their way to Phildadephia, prime assets in the deal that brought Mike Richards to the Kings.
Adding these two players to the Kings’ roster is absolutely outstanding, and has the writing on the wall to elevate the team to being a serious Stanley Cup threat. Richards brings a prominent name to the 2nd line centerman position, totaling 158 points in his last two seasons – including the postseason. He’ll add security for Anze Kopitar, who will most likely remain atop the centerman depth chart. When you’re talking Richards, you’re talking prominent – you’re talking elite. The Kings haven’t just added another offensive outlet, but one that instills a resume with serious playmaking ability.
After falling short in the Brad Richards‘ sweepstakes, the Kings agreed to terms with Simon Gagne for 2 years at $7 million. Gagne, who spent last season with the Tampa Bay Lighting, is coming off of consecutive 40 point seasons with 17 goals and 23 assists. Gagne, at this point, can be considered as a fixture on any of the Kings’ top three lines.
The Ryan Smyth deal couldn’t get any uglier, as reports are claiming that Colin Fraser is still recovering from an injury that will keep him out for the first four months of the season. Fraser was the second player offered in the Smyth talks, after Gilbert Brule was nixed from the initial deal for his concussion history. Man, talk about leaving a sour taste.